On July 1, Ukrainian trucks were suspended from crossing the Polish border without ECMT Certificates (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) – something the European Union canceled with the road transport Agreement, signed with Ukraine on June 20. 

Ukraine’s State Customs Service reported that Polish checkpoints were suspended for entry and exit for Ukrainian freight vehicles without the special permits. 

The suspension started at midnight. It surprised the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, since the Polish decision disobeys the road transport agreement between Ukraine and the EU – the latter including Poland. 

Less than a day after the news was posted, the two sides solved the issue.

It turned out that there was a delay in Polish customs being informed. 

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“No permits for two-way transportation are required. The agreement on the liberalization of freight transportation between Ukraine and the EU entered into force on the day of signing,” acting Minister of Infrastructure Serhii Derkach stated in a Facebook post after the news was posted. 

The EU and Ukraine updated and extended the Road Transport Agreement to June 30, next year. Inside Ukraine, this is usually referred to as the “transport visa-free regime.” 

The agreement cancels the need for Ukrainian truck drivers to obtain permits for bilateral and transit transportation to EU countries. Ukraine’s drivers are also no longer required to have an international driver's license. 

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This solved a key problem for both EU and Ukraine economies: the lack of permits for international transportation to individual EU countries, particularly the lack of Polish, Romanian, Austrian, and Italian permits. 

The Ministry of Infrastructure of Poland knows that Ukrainian trucks do not need ECMT Certificates, Derkach said. 

“The Polish side, like all other EU member states, was informed about the renewal of the Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union through official channels,” he wrote. 

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Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure sent a request to the Polish side for an explanation and was assured that “they are trying to solve the problem with the customs service.” 

As it turned out, Warsaw simply did not send the information to customs officers straightaway.

“The Polish customs gathered border officers and customs officers at midnight between June, 30 and July, 1 and informed they will not let freight transport cross the border. They were not provided with official documents stating the agreement on liberalization has been extended,” Derkach told Kyiv Post.

The customs officers should have informed the Ukrainian side about a situation like this beforehand, Derkach added in a comment. The actions of Polish customs also came as a surprise for both the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and the European Commission, according to the acting minister. 

Ukraine also informed the European Commission about the suspension of the passage of trucks. “The EU Commission has already intervened in the situation from its side and is also trying to influence the solution of the problem,” Derkach wrote. 

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